A Master's to Remember

Dan Wheat-RiversContributor IApril 8, 2009

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Tiger Woods smiles at a press conference during a practice round prior to the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2009 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

What a week in sports. Monday was baseball's Opening Day as well as the NCAA National Championship game. Tomorrow is the first round of the Master's golf tournament.

The Master's should be great this year, as long as the weather improves. Tiger is back in full force after eight months away from the game, so he will be the lead story all week, unless of course he has an awful two or three days.

There are more interesting stories to keep you going, if you get burnt out on Tiger. Rory McIlroy is a 19 year old from Ireland that has been playing lights out golf and is competing in his first Master's event. I've seen him play twice and I really like his style and charisma. I don't expect him to win, but I won't be surprised if he's in the top ten come Sunday.

There's also Phil Mickelson. He has two Green Jackets already and is probably considered Tiger's strongest competitor. Sergio Garcia is still looking to live up to his potential, in the eyes of most people in the sport. Which is kind of funny, since he almost unseated Tiger as the number one player in the world a few weeks ago.

Today is the traditional par-3 golf tournament at Augusta before the real thing starts tomorrow. No one really wants to win today, because the Par-3 winner has never won the main event, but it's still a great thing to see.

I always reminisce on Par-3 day. Nine years ago, my dad and I were lucky enough to be in Augusta on Wednesday for the practice round and Par-3. I got to see (and take good pictures of) Jack, Arnold, Tiger, Vijay, and a host of others.

The par-3 is more about family and fun than about fierce competition. Frequently you'll see kids carrying their dad's bags. One of my clearest memories from that day is watching Vijay Singh let his son putt and then when it wasn't quite hard enough to get over the ridge in the green, he got down ground level and starting blowing the ball until it rolled down the crest.

So get ready for some good golf and southern tradition. What a great week for sports!